It was Christmas Eve and fear was just around the corner ready to eat me whole.
My Dad had driven me to work that morning and hadn’t been pleased about having to do so. When my Mom picked me up at 5:00 pm she did not waste time in starting her lecture about how I needed to get over the accident. Even as I type, I can vividly remember exactly where we were on Interstate 81 when she said to me: “The chances of anything like this happening again are highly unlikely.”
I was desperate. So was my Mom. I didn’t say anything in that moment but my mind grabbed a hold of that statement and clung to it for hope…for enough breath to endure the ride home. About an hour later our family of 5 was headed down the road to go out to eat. My dad drove, mom was up front, and I was in the middle of the back seat with my 16-year-old brother on one side and my 14-year-old brother on the other side of me. As I looked ahead, I could see headlights coming toward us and my body tensed up as I held my breath waiting for the car to pass.
But as it drove closer, my mind reeled with terror…the car was in our lane!
Once again, time seemed to come to a stand still and seconds went into slow motion. This could not be happening! But it was! Before I could react, my Dad was on the defense with some fancy driving and was able to narrowly miss both a head on collision and being pushed off the road into a deep ditch. He pulled the car into a drive way and quickly turned around to follow the swerving vehicle back up the road. Just a few hundred feet later the out of control car slammed into the side of a brick apartment building. Dad stopped, jumped out of our car, and ran across the road to the vehicle and it’s driver. He was drunk. I was still in our car – shaking uncontrollably – but I could hear the loud, slurred drawl of that man say: “Awe, it’s okay! Nobody got hurt!” If it hadn’t been for my brothers holding me back I would have lunged from the car and ran screaming at him.
I was angry. I was mad. I. Was. Full. Of. Rage.
I could not put into words what was happening inside my mind in those emotion filled moments, but I now understand that my hope had just been obliterated. This man had driven into our lane, and by doing so, proved to me that accidents could happen irregardless of any “odds”. My hope of being “safer” because I had just had an accident was shattered. All I could think about was the fact that I was not safe….
Not during the day. Not during the night. Not in good weather and certainly not in bad weather. Not when I was driving and not when anyone was driving. Cars were not safe.
And with that those thoughts, fear completely consumed me.
To be continued…